AUBURN — The Woman’s Literary Union of Androscoggin County will open the historic Foss mansion for a Christmas Open House from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13; from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14; and from 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

WLU members and local professionals have decorated the mansion’s rooms on the first and second floors. Orphan Annie’s has transformed the library into a spectacular holiday room. The Great Falls Model Railroad Club will have a fun Christmas-themed train set on display.

The Foss mansion was built between 1914 and 1917 for Horatio G. and Ella May Fletcher Foss. When constructed, the house featured the latest in technological innovations such as both electric and gas lighting, a central vacuum system, concealed lighting in the dining room, bathrooms with flushing toilets and plumbing, and closet lights that turned on when the door opened.

The only major changes made to the house over the years were in the kitchen which was updated in the late 1940s and the switch from coal to oil furnaces. The rest of the house with its Spanish-influenced, white-stuccoed exterior walls, clay tiled roof, Federal-influenced portico, and Palladian windows, remains a fine example of mostly Georgian-Revival architecture.

The distinctive mansion is a landmark in the Historic Downtown Auburn district and was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1976.

The festive holiday décor will blend beautifully with the mansion’s architectural splendor.

The Fosses were well-known for their generosity in the community. Horatio worked at and then became the owner of the Dingley Foss Shoe Co. The couple had no children and Ella bequeathed the mansion to WLU upon her death in 1941.

The Woman’s Literary Union of Androscoggin County is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization, and tax deductible donations will be accepted at this event to help support the union’s scholarship fund and general maintenance of the Foss mansion.

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students, and children under 12 are admitted for free. The Foss mansion is at 19 Elm St. For more information, email [email protected] or call 207-783-1705.

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